Vital support for plant exploration!
Montgomery Botanical Center is excited to support research, conservation, and study of plants from tropical habitats worldwide. Generous funding from Dr. Lin Lougheed makes these efforts possible through the MBC Plant Exploration Fund. This newly dedicated fund advances plant science and exploration efforts for Montgomery and its partners, and connects Montgomery to emerging plant researchers and garden leaders internationally.
Already, the MBC Plant Exploration Fund has led to discovery of new species, greater understanding of wild plants, and more effective conservation of threatened palms and cycads, by linking Montgomery experts with our international botanical colleagues. Below, please see some of the recent advances made possible through this fund.
As the Fund's founder, Dr. Lougheed will give a matching gift of $100,000 to encourage others who believe in the irreplaceable value of plants to contribute to the Fund. As an author, explorer and language expert, Dr. Lougheed sees great value in these collaborative efforts. He states: “You can’t help endangered animals and plants without preserving and conserving their habitat. All things depend on plants.”
We look forward to many more discoveries!
Lin Lougheed, center holding Explorers Club flag, with American and Madagascar team, August 2006.
NEW PALMETTO SPECIES
This palm only thrives in remote corners of Curacao and Bonaire, and is new to science as of 2017. The Plant Exploration Fund sent Patrick Griffith to work with local botanist John De Frietas to determine its natural history. In addition, the Fund allowed MBC Intern Imeña Valdes to work with a team of Dutch students to survey these rare plants.
Great advances in understanding Zamia are being made in Colombia, due to the efforts of Dr. Cristina Lopez-Gallego, Michael Calonje and the Colombian Cycad Society. Exploration of new habitats, monitoring of imperiled populations, and careful study of biology and morphology are producing many new findings.
Montgomery is leading a Federally-funded, multi-national effort to determine the best ways to conserve trees in a garden environment. This advancement would not be possible without field-collected DNA samples from wild populations of Cacheito Palm, from a remote plateau in the Dominican Republic. The Plants Exploration Fund recently sent Xavier Gratacos and Patrick Griffith to work with expert botanists Teodoro Clase and Pedro Toribio.
SPECTACULAR PALMS AND TREES IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
A joint expedition of Jardin Botanico Nacional Rafael Moscoso, Montgomery, and Fairchild brought amazing new plants to all three gardens, including the giant Sabal domingensis, the rare and unique Clavija domingensis, and Zombia antillarum, the Zombie Palm. This international collaboration led to greater understanding of conservation horticulture practices at all three gardens.
NEW ADVANCES IN CONSERVATION HORTICULTURE
Yarey, a threatened palm of Hispaniola, requires better understanding of the best germination media in order to improve protective cultivation. The Plant exploration Fund allowed careful seed collections which were used in experiments to gain this knowledge – resulting in a featured article in HortTechnology. This scientific advancement was a collaboration between Jardin Botanico Nacional Rafael Moscoso, Montgomery and Fairchild.